Appearing at the Society Showcase!

With only two days to go, the Big Band and Concert Band are warming up for their sets on Saturday. With apearances from performers at the recent Jazz @ 5 gig as well, there’ll be a lively jazz flavour to the showcase.

Music will include a selection of medleys from The Beatles, Pirates of the Carribbean 3 and Phantom of the Opera from the University of Kent Concert Band and some good old classic Jazz and Swing from the Big Band; there’s something for everyone in the Concert Band and Big Band sets of Encore!

See you there!

London Jazz Festival: Robert Glasper Trio on Radio 3

With the London Jazz Festival in full swing, you can catch up with many of the gigs courtesy of the BBC iPlayer and Radio 3; last night’s concert featured the Robert Glasper Trio, and is available to listen to for a week here.

Glasper is often called ‘the hip-hop jazz pianist,’ and in an interview with British saxophonist Soweto Kinch in between sets, you can hear both musicians talking about the fusion of hip-hop and jazz. There’s also a review of the gig on the LondonJazz blogspot here.

Click here to listen to the gig: you won’t be disappointed. There’s even a lyrical take on Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit that’s worth a listen.

In fine voice: Big Band singer announced

After a spate of applications and a two-stage audition process, we’re delighted to announce the singers with the University Big Band this year.

Congratulations to Ruby Mutlow and Jo Turner, who will be gracing the stage at the various gigs with the Big Band.

Jo Turner

Jo Turner

A seasoned veteran of the Jazz @ 5 series over the past two years, Jo Turner is a third-year student studying Social Anthropology. Jo has entertained audiences at the Gulbenkian Theatre with a wide repertoire ranging from jazz classics to songs by Radiohead, and has also appeared at Worldfest. Previously, she has also been a member of the University Chamber Choir, and this year will also be singing in the Chorus.

Ruby Mutlow

New to Kent is Ruby Mutlow, a first-year student studying on the Visual and Performed Arts course. Ruby has a terrific voice, and we’re very excited that she is here for three years: she will no doubt be a star of the University’s music-making scene for the next few years.

Competition for the post was fierce this year – congratulations to these two Ladies of Jazz: it’s going to be a great year!

Progressing nicely!

Come the first rehearsal, typically the last Wednesday in September, the usual anxieties return.

Was ArtsFest really three months ago? Will anyone turn up? What about the repertoire? Have we got enough parts? Will reception give me a key? Will Chris stop ‘fiddling’?!

Seven rehearsals in and I’m pleased to report, once again, the worrying was unnecessary! Without giving the game away too much. Concert Band repertoire includes a spiritual/Dixieland tune, we’ve got the usual crowd-pleasing medley and a challenging Paul Hart piece that we did attempt a couple of years back then quickly hid in the cupboard – we have to play it now!

Plan with the Big Band, a whole new programme in the February concert, well maybe not quite. Singers Jo and Ruby are now on board and showing once again the depth of talent in the building! From funk to Latin a varied programme can be promised. Of course not forgetting the obligatory audience participation. Things are shaping up well…I can’t wait for February!

The wealth of talent on show every Wednesday night never fails to amaze me. I would like to convey my genuine appreciation to all the players who turn up and produce the goods without fail. I will try not to worry next year, there is no need!

I shall find something different to concern myself with.

Hull City play tomorrow night, now I’m worried!

Going on for Miles: Kind of Blue

The greatest-selling jazz record of all time, a timeless classic, and a legendary album that continues to attract and inspire listeners.

If you haven’t heard this, try it; at least once.

Sax appeal: Sax Day at St. Edmund’s School

A treat for saxophonists everywhere; Sunday 28 November sees the Crowther Saxophone Day, hosted by St. Edmund’s School, with guest specialists including John Harle and Phil Veacock.

John Harle

Internationally-renowned saxophonist John Harle will lead two masterclasses, whilst Phil Veacock, a member of the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, will hold a Jazz & Blues session.

Other sessions include ensemble workshops led by various tutors including Peter Cook and our very own Ian Swatman, and the day closes with an informal concert featuring ensembles and guest players.

A terrific opportunity for players of any standard to develop and improve aspects of technique, improvisation and performance; don’t miss it.

Full details and booking form on-line here.

On the beat: UKC Concert Band and Big Band blog

From jazz and funk to film music, swing standards, big band classics, Stevie Wonder and the epic film scores: the Concert Band and Big Band at the University of Kent have it all!

It’s going to be a busy year for both bands, with an appearance at ‘Encore!,’ the Music Society Showcase in November, the usual roof-raising Gulbenkian gig in February, a visit to perform at (and with) St. Edmund’s School, plus music-making in the summer term.

The only way to keep track of it all will be here, on a blog dedicated to following the bands through rehearsal and performance. There’ll be posts from students (and quite possibly staff) who rehearse each week with the band, the occasional word from their busy conductor, Ian Swatman, and hopefully stories from former musicians who’ve played with the groups over the years. If you’ve memories of your time with the band, send them in: we’ll be featuring them in a column here,

On The Beat: keeping time with the UKC Concert and Big Bands; if it’s hot, you’ll read it here first.